Last Sunday, women gathered in one of the Istanbul’s busy centers, Kadıköy. Their aim was to protest violence against women and the inaction of the state. However, as usual in recent years in Turkey, the police jumped in and dispersed the crowd, detaining some of the women protesters. One wonders why on earth the police would not let women raise their voices against violence against women. It was declared by the governorship of Istanbul that the police had dispersed the crowd due to anti-state slogans that were chanted.
This seems to be the new normal. Whenever people gather to protest, to exercise their constitutional right, the police jump in and find a reason to stop the protest. The perception of the human rights of women, however, is another side of the issue. Interestingly, whenever the rights of women or violence against women comes up, Turkish men bring up the issue of alimony. This seems to be the new trend.
The very Monday after women were dispersed for protesting violence, a Turkish celebrity, Kaya Çilingiroğlu, was on TV. He is famous for his marriage to a Turkish movie star. He had an episodic divorce and another episodic marriage. Çilingiroğlu said, “Aren’t men being raped in this country? Men suffer too. For example, a man marries then wants a divorce. He tells his wife to let him go. His wife asks for money from him. What is this ‘alimony,’ for god’s sake?”
Çilingiroğlu is not the only one who thinks Turkish law gives more advantages to women than men. He got quite a lot of support on social media. One twitter user, for example, wrote that some people use the rights of women as an intellectual accessory — while he also gave support to Çilingiroğlu. One other user wrote, “I love this Turkish way of feminism, you demand equality, but when it comes to divorce, you expect men to look after you.”
The initiative against alimony is gaining traction. Men first organized under the “divorced fathers platform,” which then turned into “victims of permanent alimony.” They simply do not want to pay alimony to their ex-wives and they demand a change in the law.
According to Article 175 of Turkish civil law, in the case of a divorce, the party who falls into the condition of poverty has the right to demand alimony permanently from the other party. In the law, genders are not specified, but usually women are the party that is to receive alimony from their ex-husbands. Having children and taking care of them usually leaves women behind at work. Many women tend to leave work after having kids; thus most working places do not provide kindergartens for working moms, and the state does not provide enough kindergartens. Having a permanent babysitter is usually expensive and does not add up with a woman’s salary. In more traditional Turkish families, husbands demand their wives leave work and become stay-at-home moms. Apparently things work themselves out between couples until they do not.
The law also aims to empower women in cases of domestic violence. Without financial support, women usually can not attempt to file for divorce. They are usually anxious about ending up penniless and homeless, and thus they prefer to tolerate violence. However when they know they will have some kind of income guaranteed by law, they have the chance to free themselves from abusive marriages.
Men who do not want to pay alimony claim that they are being exploited by their ex-wives, who tend to get money from their exes rather than working. However feminists think there is a deeper agenda than that.
Women’s rights defender and lawyer Hülya Gülbahar spoke to the Media 4 democracy website about this issue. She claims that the fight against alimony is just the first step and that the rights of women under civil law are under attack. Gülbahar claims the next step will be a demand to change the inheritance law, which divides inheritance between men and women equally.
The pro-government newspaper Sabah wrote that the law will be amended with the new reforms package. According to the newspaper, permanent alimony will only be given in cases when a spouse is too old or sick to work.
On another note: according to data gathered by the news outlet Bianet, between January 30 and November 30 of this year, 305 women were killed by men, 46 women were raped, and 556 women were attacked.
Football in Turkey, as in many European countries, is structured around masculinity. Game days are the days when men can act like savages, insult men and women freely, and attack anyone they like — and they don’t face any consequences.
Turkey is still divided by the Gezi protests. Some see the protests as a struggle for freedom that had never happened before in Turkey and remember it with pride, while others detest the memory of the protests. For Erdoğan’s 50 percent, when the state tells you not to do something, you ought not to do it.
In a meeting between Mr Erdoğan and his party’s MPs, some MPs voiced their concerns about Turkish soap operas that they found to be not suitable for Turkish values and culture. According to the reports, Mr. Erdoğan agreed with the MPs and told them he was disturbed as well. When the President voices a concern about a matter, a new decree or law usually follows.
The chaos that occurred after the June 2015 election worked for Erdoğan, but his approval ratings tend to fall when terror attacks or wars halt and people start worrying about the economy. According to Metropoll, the last time Erdoğan’s approval rating was higher than 50 percent was 2018; the economy seems to be taking its toll on Erdoğan.
Up until now, the local businessmen used to support AKP without reservation, and it used to be a win-win situation for both parties. However, this cooperation seems to be fading. When Suriçi Group Platform hosts CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, it is a significant development for Turkish politics.
There is the talk of early elections, both on the street and in back rooms. There is an expectation that some change will occur. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has a more critical part to play in Turkish politics. However, it seems that it won’t be easy for the HDP to keep their traditional voter base satisfied while becoming a more relevant actor in the upcoming political period.
While many of the pro-government figures in Turkey were preaching about what sort of a villain Soleimani was, the Turkish secular left was busy describing him as the “Che Guevara of the Middle East.” Though it depends on how one perceives Che Guevara, the comparison was supposed to be a compliment to Soleimani’s legacy.
Totalitarian systems usually come up with their own ideal man. Tayyip Erdoğan believes the future of his Turkey lies in İmam Hatip school education. He believes the only way to create his “ideal man” is to educate young Turkish people in line with the strict religious education of the imam hatip schools. As Erdoğan became stronger, so did the imam hatip schools.
President Erdoğan’s military advisor and the founder of the armed group SADAT, recently suggested that Islamic unity will be possible when Mahdi comes. Erdoğan’s military advisor announcing his mission to prepare for Mahdi’s arrival is definitely not a good sign for Turkey’s near future.
Horses tumbling down and breathing their last breaths, while still being harnessed to the carriage has also turned into an everyday scene at the Princes’ Islands of Istanbul. Weak, limping horses trying to pull crowded families up the hills, often looks like a horror scene from a dystopian movie.
Led by Erdoğan, the AKP has been reshaping the secular life of Turks for the last 17 years, bit by bit. The latest in the line of religiously-inspired incidents happened in Adana, a southern Turkish city with a unique character whose people are proud of their city, their type of kabab and their Adana ways.
Turkey is now being ruled by an exceptional version of a presidential system. Everything is ultimately decided by the President, with ministries and the legislative branch having a marginal influence. But he also wants citizens to be able to reach the Palace directly. And CIMER is the answer!
Imamoğlu ran his election campaign not on a narrative of fighting, but a narrative of peace. He promised to be inclusive, and he was careful not to target Erdoğan in his speeches. He aimed to grab AKP votes by not targeting Erdoğan. However, now it seems that he is shifting gears.
Gas prices have doubled overnight in Iran. Since Nov. 15, street protests and riots have been spreading. The protests started peacefully, but turned violent fairly quickly. The security forces were relentless: they had no intention of tolerating this public objection to the price increase.
One of the heaviest financial crises in Turkey’s history was in 2001. It first became public symbolically when a salesman threw a cash till at then-Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit. The man threw the giant cash box in front of the cameras as Ecevit was walking into his office. As the till hit the floor and shattered into pieces, the salesman yelled, “We are struggling!” The incident symbolically marked the beginning of the end of the Ecevit era.
The Sevres Syndrome has been a factor that impedes rationality for many Turkish citizens trying to make some sense of global dynamics. In recent years, Turkish-American relations have deteriorated at an unprecedented rate. For many Turks, this was simply another example of hatred against the Turks, this time coming from across the ocean. However, even in the more rational circles in Turkey, it is almost impossible to hear critical analysis concerning Turkey’s responsibility in the failing relationship.
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Turks established the Turkish Republic. However, even the issue of what to celebrate proves that Turks have a long road ahead before they feel like a truly united nation that shares similar ideals and prospects for future.
According to Turkish civil law, the party who has the economic advantage in the marriage is to pay for children’s expenses and some expenses of the former spouse. In most cases the economic advantage is with the men, since on the one hand many men do not want their wives to work during the marriage and also social inequalities cause men to be the breadwinners of the families, not the women.